Alzheimer’s Disease has been a part of my family since my high school days. In the ’70s, my paternal grandmother suffered with memory impairment and would wander away from the nursing home. The medical profession knew little of the disease and the rest of the world, even less. Time went on and we became more aware of Alzheimer’s. More of my relatives developed the disease including my mother who passed away in 2015. Today, sadly, almost everyone knows someone struggling with this form of dementia. Statistics are grim: more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and by 2050 that number could be as high as 16 million. However, I am discovering that many people do not understand it, so I would like to just share a few resources I have found that are beneficial. I continue to research and learn and have shared earlier in a blog. But, I trust to add more.
The website of the Alzheimer’s Organization is loaded with articles, research and resources that include the description of the disease, symptoms, care, support groups, and much more. Check out: http://www.alz.org/
Many books have been written but I would highly recommend several. The 36-Hour Day by Mace and Rabin was recommended by a social worker when my mother was first diagnosed with the disease many years ago. It is a very helpful reference tool written for the layperson. Keeping Love Alive as Memories Fade: The 5 Love Languages and the Alzheimer’s Journey by Barr, Shaw, and Chapman is one I read recently. It offers many practical and poignant ways of relating to those with Alzheimer’s and provides a wonderful list of resources. Another book I find excellent especially for Christians is John Dunlop’s Finding Grace in the Face of Dementia. Dr. Dunlop draws from his medical knowledge and interaction with patients and their families, his deep understanding of God’s work and scripture, and his own personal experience with loved ones to produce a very sensitive, practical and informative book. I found his written prayers at the end of each chapter and a letter he wrote to his loved ones (if he would get dementia) deeply moving.
Not only are there many books written, video clips dealing with the disease are numerous. These include personal stories of those with the disease and/or their caregivers. Others are documentaries or discussions. Teepa Snow is an expert in the care of those with Alzheimer’s and her website has a list of informative video clips. You could also just look for her videos on YouTube.